BATESVILLE, Ark. (LyonScots.com) – Last week Lyon College first-year head basketball coach Chad Tapp challenged senior Jordan Layrock to ‘finish' when the Scots moved the ball inside on offense. Despite a disheartening 67-62 setback to Victory University in the Scots' home opener Tuesday night in James C. Becknell Gymnasium, the coach saw his 6-6 forward answer the challenge.
Layrock (Mountain Home, Ark.) scored 20 first-half points and finished with a career-high 33, but the Scots (0-5) only led Victory (3-0) by one point, 37-36, at the break, despite hitting 60.9% (14-of-23) from the field. The Eagles, who shot 39.3% (11-of-28) from the field in the first half, stayed closing by hauling in eight offensive boards in the period, then took advantage of Lyon's cold shooting in the final half to escape town with the win.
Lyon hit only 32% (8-of-25) from the field in the final 20 minutes, finished the game 0-of-8 from behind the three-point arc and converted only 18-of-29 (62.1%) of the free throws, which contributed greatly to the setback.
Layrock knocked down 11-of-18 from the field and 11-of-17 from the line for the game, added nine boards and blocked a pair of shots. But no other Lyon player scored in double figures. Junior Devonte Young (Beebe, Ark.) added eight points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals, while junior Rickey Thomas (Little Rock, Ark.) returned from a back injury to come off the bench to score seven points and pull down five boards and hand out three assists. Senior Stephon Martinez (Bonne Terre, Mo.) scored six points.
Three Eagles scored in double figures, led by Marico Stinson, who came off the bench to lead the team with 23 points and nine boards. Tyrell Hursey added 17 points and three rebounds, Tavis Gipson scored 11 points and Michael Davis managed eight.
Both teams committed 20 turnovers in the non-conference matchup. The Scots finished the contest hitting 22-of-48 (45.8%) from the field, while the Eagles connected on 19-of-51 (37.3%).
After splitting their home-and-home games a year ago, this game was just as close as those were, with Tuesday's contest having 16 ties. Lyon moved out to a 9-3 lead at the 16:04 mark of the first half, but the sixth tie (22-22) was already registered at the 6:30 mark of the first half. The teams were tied nine times before the break, as Young hit a jumper with three seconds on the clock to give the Scots a slim 37-36 advantage.
Victory quickly moved out in front by five points (46-41) 5:57 into the second half, but Lyon pushed back to force four more ties before the 13-minute mark of the second half. The last was 52-52 with 6:43 remaining.
Lyon looked as if it might take the win, creeping out to a 61-55 lead with 2:51 on the clock. But a 10-0 run over the next 2:27 put the Eagles on top 65-61 with 24 seconds left. The Scots had several opportunities to gain the needed momentum in the final minute, but turnovers and missed shots in the paint kept the Scots from gaining the win.
The Scots will now take the next eight days off, before heading to Little Rock next Wednesday to face Philander Smith College in a 7:30 p.m. matchup. The next home contest for Lyon will be on Dec. 5 and 6 when they host Harris-Stowe and 21st-ranked Park University on consecutive nights.